Congratulations! You have arrived in the US to pursue your higher education dreams and are all set to start your new life. As you’re setting up for the next few years, you have a lot to do! Getting a phone and SIM card, setting up your room or apartment and getting a bank account. As you think about your finances, you may be wondering how to open a bank account as an international student in the US, and which bank you should use. Rather than going to the nearest branch and opening an account, it is important to think about which account is best suited for your lifestyle and needs.
Here we show you the traditional way of getting a bank account as an international student, as well as a better way through North Loop, which provides a free international bank account.
Quick guide to US student bank account for Indian students-
With our quick guide to US student bank account for Indian students, you can learn all the tips and tricks of opening a bank account for students studying abroad.
Two types of bank accounts-
1. Checking account- This type of account facilitates multiple deposits and withdrawals. This account comes with a checkbook, a debit card, and many other facilities. In order to pay for their living expenses in the US, international students may need to only open a checking account.
2. Savings account- This is a type of account truly meant for savings purposes. Deposits earn an interest rate, and this account is suitable for account holders who’d like to save money over the long term.
How to choose a bank?
1. The first criteria would be to check the minimum balance criteria.
2. The second would be the bank’s set of fees levied.
3. Another important criteria to consider while opening a bank account is the bank’s network.
4. Does the bank offer phone and net-banking facilities?
5. Does the bank facilitate low-cost international transfers?
Enjoy unlimited no fee ATM withdrawals with a student account
Bank Account Opening Process
With traditional banks such as Chase and Bank of America, you will have to make an appointment at your local branch to go and open an account. These banks don’t let you open an account online if you are an international student. Once you get to the branch for your appointment, you will have to fill out a few forms to open an account after you decide which account you want (read our post on best banks for students here). You will also have to present a variety of documents for ‘KYC’ (Know-Your-Customer) rules. These documents can include:
- Valid Passport
- Student Visa
- Student ID
- Proof of Address in the US
Make sure you bring a copy of these documents, as well as the original documents to the appointment at the bank branch.
Pros and Cons of some of the best banks in the USA-
|Pros and Cons of US based banks |
|Chase Bank||-Bonus of $100 upon signing up|
-You can open an account if you're under 24 years of age.
|-Monthly fees post graduation. |
|Bank of America||-Insights on expenditure|
|-The minimum amount you need to deposit is $100.|
-High maintenence fee once you graduate.
|North Loop||-No account minimums|
-Free remittances to India
-FDIC insured accounts
-24/7 access to your account.
|PNC US||-First overdraft fee is automatically refunded.|
-Interest rates are offered on deposits.
|-Overdraft fee comes up to $36.|
-Some of the lowest interest rates.
|U.S. Bank||-Four non-US ATM fees are waived a month.|
-Use your ID as a debit card.
-Fist checkbook is free.
|-Overdraft fee comes up to $36.|
-Very less outreach of the on-campus program
Your Bank Account
Once you’re approved, the bank will mail you a debit card (usually Mastercard or Visa) to your address, which will arrive in 4-5 days. You’ll also get a checkbook and important information about your account. The first thing you should do is set up your online banking account, so you don’t need to visit a branch for future banking related work.
Most international student accounts have low spending limits and ATM withdrawal limits, so make sure you check your account limits before you use your debit card! Also be aware of all fees that your bank charges you, from monthly service fees to overdraft fees.
As an international student, keep an eye out for wire transfer fees (both incoming and outgoing) and as you look for the best bank for international wire transfers, see the limits as well. Many banks charge up to $40 to receive an incoming international wire transfer.
Credit Cards for International Students
Now that you have a bank account, you may be wondering how to get a credit card. Since you are an international student, you will find many banks will not issue you a credit card as you are new to the country, don’t have an SSN, and have no credit history. While you can get a secured card to start building your credit history, another alternative is to go with accounts such as North Loop who focus on international students.
Points to remember while using your student account-
1. Ensure that you have sufficient balance while writing a check to avoid penalties levied in case a check bounces.
2. Always sign your check at the end and never issue a blank check to anyone with your signature.
3. Keep a tab on your account balance every time you transact. Also, ensure that your monthly statement is in line with your set of transactions.
4. Always go to your bank and deposit cash or mail a check to your bank in case you want to deposit money. Never mail cash to your bank.
Open USA student bank account from India-
Although some banks provide you the convenience to open a student bank account from India, the majority of the banks require you to visit the branch. North Loop is one of those banks that offers users the utmost convenience to open a bank account through a paperless KYC procedure with minimal documentation. You can open a feature-packed student bank account in just a few clicks and have it activated within just a couple of hours.
Signing up for a North Loop Account
There are limited bank accounts with no fees, but North Loop provides international students with no-fee account that has no minimums and can be signed up for online (and even before you come to the US). North Loop enables international students to open an account before they come, have their card waiting for them in the US, and get an international student credit card without a SSN.
The account has no incoming wire fees, no local transfer fees, and no ATM fees. You also get up to 5% cashback at your favorite restaurants on campus.